And more modelling!!

December 31, 2017

It’s becoming a little too serious at the moment – I have to be careful not to become too involved! However, I really want to get this micro-layout finished and soon! Scenery in the form of shrubs, bushes and weeds has been added with a touch of Autumn colour. ‘Loch Dhu No.2’ has also received its nameplates together with a spot of touching up. Time to do some weathering of the stock ans the pug too.

I think the Autumn colours, representing early Autumn when leaves just begin to turn on small trees and bushes after the first frost in the glens. There’s more to do to this scene including some long dry grasses in places, a touch of yellow to the autumn colour and more matting down to kill the shine in the scenery material. Acrylic glues, which are perfect for scenery application, also tend to hold a dull shine which looks unrealistic. More soon!


Small jobs = progress.

December 30, 2017

One of the two distillery ‘pugs’ is prepared to receive its new nameplates. A quick check shows that the printed number plates on the Hornby Peckett W4 (base model is R3428 MSC No. 11) are pared back sufficiently to be covered by new custom etched plates by Narrow Planet. A quick clean up of the etched tags on the plates and they were ready to fit together with cab side works plates. The riveted boiler bands were also pared a little to allow the plates sit a little flatter to the model. The reality is that a hard used industrial loco like this would have probably had some backing material, probably wood, applied to such large plates to allow them to sit over the rivets. Some patch painting and weathering is next to further give the impression of a hard used loco. A close match to the Hornby paint is…Freightliner green! Should you wish to personalise your industrial steam or diesel locos, visit Narrow Planet’s custom name plate page here!

Details of how I squeezed a stay alive decoder and cap into this model can be read here…

Matting down…

December 30, 2017

After adding some debris in the distillery yard such as cask staves and rusty loops, matting down of all the surfaces was needed to remove the dull shine from acrylic paints before scenery could be completed. For that, I use Testors ‘Dullcote’ which removes 95% of the sheen. Some more stubborn areas need a little help with Tamiya matt varnish. After several very thin applications, the rails are carefully cleaned of varnish.

The same is dome to the hard pavements in the distillery itself, with the buildings removed. Once dry, the two low relief buildings such as the one at the end of the layout may be semi-permanently fitted in place with glue and the gap between the base of the building and pavement concealed with scenery material. Further weed planting and placing the pile of casks I have previously prepared will finish the scene.

Loch Dhu Distillery is nearing some state of completion apart from small details which may be added over time. Work on the rolling stock, to fit smaller ‘Spratt & Winkle’ couplings (TT gauge ones) and weathering will be completed over the next few months.  I can finalise a couple of simple modifications to the exchange siding side of the layout at the same time (prompted by the acquisition of a rail bus) and that will be it for a while whilst I turn my attention back to my EM gauge Folkestone East layout.

Folkestone East is undergoing a little bit of a revolution where I am ridding myself of all EWS, EW&S and GBRf equipment and related stock to concentrate on the mid 1990s period where there was a significant transition period involving sectors, TOCs and of course the overlap between the opening of the Channel Tunnel and closure of the Dover train ferry service. This will provide a tighter focus on what stock I buy and build for the layout. 2018 will be a year of tighter focus for my modelling!


God Jul!

December 24, 2017

Detailing takes time…

December 24, 2017

…and a little Dullcote will be needed to kill the slight shine from acrylic paints…

Small details are being added to the Loch Dhu Distillery buildings. They include a representation of yard lighting, wall braces and window bars for security. It is a distillery after all!
The revenue man’s office now has windows, doors and security bars. One door is ajar – a figure representing the head revenue man himself, the very model of taxation bureaucracy, surveying all that goes on around him, will be added looking out of the door. Will Angus MacGallbladder get his way and apply duty on the angel’s share?

There’s just room between the 12t vans and the building to get the doors open for unloading sacks of barley for the maltings. As the buildings are completed, the low relief ones will be fixed in place and the bases finished to blend them with the ground.

The yard will soon be filled with stored empty casks…

Progress has been made on the engine shed, a part relief building which just fits the distillery scene. Remember, the scene is barely 14 inches wide!

The buildings need a little more detail painting and some touch-up here and there before being sprayed with Dullcote together with the yard surface. Otherwise, they have come a treat after a long period of construction and painting. Loch Dhu Distillery, despite some ‘evolutionary’ changes to improve some of earlier work, is nearing completion. The exchange siding side of the layout is being revised slightly and the recent acquisition of a suitable railbus has encouraged the building of a small fiddle stick to complete the main line run – all 40 inches of it. A big layout indeed!


DJ Models Class 71 Overview

December 17, 2017

Despite the Class 71 being introduced as long ago as 1959/60 and with the virtue of being a very interesting locomotive in its own right, it has taken a crowd funding effort with DJ Models to see one appear as a ready to run OO gauge model. The sample kindly supplied by DJ Models is finished in the interim livery of BR green with full yellow ends, a livery which seems to be becoming better represented in model form as enthusiasts come to recognise that the transition between BR green and BR rail blue eras is indeed an interesting one to represent on a layout.Class 71 were unique electric locomotives built to operate on the BR Southern Region third rail network, primarily the South Eastern Division (or Eastern Section depending on your point of view) where they operated a wide range of trains from freight to prestigious cross-channel traffic passenger trains such as boat trains and the ‘Golden Arrow’.That pantograph is no mistake on the part of the designers. Conductor rail was not laid in many yards or berthing sidings due to the danger it posed to ground staff. Trolley wires were hung from sometimes quite basic poles or sophisticated gantries such as those at Folkestone East sidings to allow a Class 71 to collect current when running off the third rail. Whilst Class 73s were equipped with an auxiliary diesel engine for running off the third rail and to deal with the problem of gaping in the conductor rail when running at slow speed over complex track work; Class 71s used a ‘booster generator’ instead of an auxiliary diesel engine to avoid gaping.There two sides of a Class 71 feature different equipment. The photo above shows the grilles located on one side of the model – nicely cut in detail and accurately represented. Class 71s only had one traction motor blower with air drawn in through the body side grilles. and ducted to the four EE532 traction motorsThe opposite side of the DJ Models Class 71 model with its large window.

Bogies are rich in detail and the correct spoked wheels are fitted too. Pick-up shoe beams fitted to the bogies are add-on parts supplied with the model, as is a bogie to body bracket which should be left in the box when operating the model on a layout with sharp curves.

The holes in the underside of the bogie frames are not there by accident – they make it easier to pop a tiny drop of oil on the drive gears when necessary.

DJ Models has come up with a neat way of representing the head code blinds. The body is removed (clips only) and the desired head code blind inserted into the frame behind the middle window of both cabs. There is no need to take the cab fittings out with the chance of disturbing the lighting circuits.
It’s a smart model with good flush glazing and other good features including space for a 21-pin decoder and digital sound speaker. The body is simply clipped in place making removal easy to do.Some of the buffer beam detail is factory installed with the remainder left for the modeller to fit if the buffer beam valance fill-in moulding is fitted instead of the tension lock coupling. NEM coupler boxes are fitted as standard with close coupling cams which work well with the deep buffer beam valance.

That’s the DJ Models Class 71 in OO gauge – perfect for Southern Electric modellers. A yard scene with a trolley wire system instead of a conductor rail would make an interesting compact layout theme in which the DJ Models Class 71 would be very much at home. There lots of potential in such a layout which could include engineers stock or BR standard revenue wagons such as 12t vans and 13t general merchandise open wagons together with a continental van or two – there’s quite a few locations on the former Southern Region which would provide inspiration for such a layout. The fine running of the DJ Models Class 71 would make for some satisfying shunting operations – Class 71s do not have to be restricted to the main line. You could, of course, add a Hornby 2HAL to the mix if a bit of secondary line with conductor rail was to be added to the track plan. Or perhaps a Hornby 2BIL for a Central Section themed layout?

My thanks to Dave Jones of DJ Models for supplying the model which will be reviewed in detail in the Railway Magazine Guide to Railway Modelling.

‘Large Logo’ Class 47

December 16, 2017

An attractive BR ‘Large Logo’ Class 47 features in the current (2017) Bachmann catalogue with an anticipated release in either January or February 2018. It represents a popular Class 47/4 No. 47 444 ‘University of Nottingham’ (31-660A) and is finished in pristine condition. It is always good to see an ordinary every day locomotive modelled well; a model which will fit in on most 1980s or early 1990s layouts (Era 8) without looking out of place.The model is supplied with etched nameplates to fit over the printed ones together with numerous separate detail parts including flush glazing, wire hand rails, windscreen wipers and bogie fittings.The paint finish on the featured model was flawless and the blue a pretty accurate shade for BR blue. Despite misgivings by enthusiasts when ‘Large Logo’ livery appeared in the 1980s, it is now a popular scheme on Class 37s and 47s. printing of livery details is sharp and the paint colours dense and opaque.

The model features a six axle drive powered by a frame mounted motor. It’s a heavy model, requiring no traction tyres to deliver impressive haulage capability.Bachmann Class 47s are produced with loco specific details and these can include the steam heating boiler ports and marker lights.Technical specifications include NEM coupling pockets, all-wheel current collection, LED marker lights and a 21-pin DCC socket. A nice model and a good representation of the once common BR Large Logo livery.